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Monthly Archives: February 2013

By Lena Van

Stock characters are found in ninety-percent of books and films. Here is a list of the seven most common character tropes in fiction (according to me):

1. Mary-Sue: According to its Wikipedia page, a “Mary-Sue” is a protagonist character who represents the author. Mary Sues tend to display unnatural talent, the ability to bewitch and enamor everyone around them and the sense that they can do no wrong. Ex. Bella Swan

2. Bully: They come in many forms. They can be the mean cheerleader, the overbearing boss or the dimwitted punk that likes to go around beating up people for no reason. Ex. Dudley Dursley

3. Anti-hero: A protagonist who usually lacks common traits associated with a hero like courage or moral decency. Ex. Artemis Fowl

4. Byronic hero: A sort of anti-hero that was first popularized by the English Romantic poet Lord Byron. According to its Wikipedia page, they tend to display these following traits: arrogant, cunning, cynical, emotionally conflicted, having a troubled past, etc. Ex. Edward Cullen

5. Femme Fatale: She is usually a mysterious, seductive woman who uses her charms to get what she wants . Ex. Every Bond girl in the James Bond series

6. Perfectionist: Like the name implies. Must be flawless in everything. Ex. Ender Wiggins

7. Mentor: Usually the older wise guy that guides the protagonist through life. Ex. Albus Dumbledore


By Chara Kramer


When it comes to perspective and points of view, sometimes you can get a little lost in a character that you may not know that well. Or if you continually go into several characters’ minds, it can be hard to really know every single character, since it is so jumpy.

Get to know your characters through other characters’ perspectives! And here’s a couple of different ways how:

1) Rewrite a scene from one minor character’s point of view. This can give you insight into that minor character—whom, maybe you want to give a bigger role to, now—or it could even give you more insight into the main character. Discovering how others react to main characters can really give you a new spin.

2) Write a scene in two very different characters’ points of view. Comparing and contrasting how two opposite characters react to a situation can let you see something in them that you hadn’t before. Maybe they are more alike than you thought!

3) Take a scene, and put the entire thing in the point of view of an inanimate object. This one sounds odd: How could an inanimate object tell a story? Although the object does not have to be alive, like a cat who could talk, you could easily personify it (giving human characteristics to objects, animals, and “things”). And in this case, the human characteristics don’t have to be anything more than “thought.”

 by Chara Kramer

valentines day 106

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! And what greater way to celebrate than with a good book? And better yet, try one that is Valentine’s Day themed to get yourself in the spirit of love and friendship.

Below is a short list of books for all ages: from youngsters to high school students. And maybe you aren’t the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. But these books are not all just about being a part of a couple. Every story has more than one central theme, and in many cases (especially in some of these great books) there are big themes of friendship, family, and courage—perfect for remembering what Valentine’s Day is all about: loving and caring for one another.

Find extended versions of the book’s biographies (parts of them are below) on

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!

by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond (authors of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)

Age range: 1-2 years

  • Join Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he celebrates Valentine’s Day with all of his friends!

Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentine

By Barbara Park

Age range: 6-9 years

  • On Valentime’s Day—as Junie B. calls it—Junie B. gets a big, mushy card from a secret admirer! She is determined to figure out who in her kindergarten class gave it to her.

Ella Enchanted

By Gail Carson Levine

Age range: 8-12 years

  • Who knew a fairy’s blessing could be a curse? When Ella is born, she is given a foolish gift by a fairy—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her. But Ella will not take the “gift” sitting down. She goes on a quest filled with mystical creatures, and of course handsome princes, determined to find a way to break her curse.

Valentine Princess

By Meg Cabot (author of the Princess Diaries series)

Age range: 13-17 years

  • When Valentine’s Day comes along, Princess Mia needs to prove that Michael is her true prince…which turns out to be a little difficult when Michael seems to be fairly uninterested in the “traditions” of Valentine’s Day. Will he be able to give in to Cupid and tell Mia that he loves her?

To Catch a Pirate

By Jade Parker

Age range: 12-17 years

  • Annalisa finds her ship being set upon by pirates in search for her father’s treasure. When one of the pirates, James Sterling, tries to take her necklace, she begs him not to, for it is the last thing left by her mother. In exchange for the necklace, he steals a kiss from her. A year later, Annalisa is intent on finding Sterling and getting her father’s treasure back. But when she finds him, she also finds that he might be starting to steal her heart.

This Lullaby

By Sarah Dessen

Age range: 14-18 years

  • Remy doesn’t mess around with relationships. But there is something about Dexter that makes Remy want to break all of her rules. He doesn’t seem like the one, but she can’t seem to get him out of her head. Maybe she’s finally starting to understand what all of those love songs are about.


Take a look at a new blog for Philadelphia high school students, by Philadelphia high school students!

From school-related posts, to music, arts, sports, and fashion, Mighty Post blog is a great read for high schoolers. You can find their website here:

And like their Facebook page here!:

The deadlines for the Montgomery County Youth Poetry Contest and Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson Award in Poetry have been extended to Friday, March 1. For more information, please visit the MCPL site.